PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
POLICE and other defence and security agencies have been granted powers to stop and search vehicles without a warrant, withdraw travel documents and
detain suspects for more than 48 hours with authority of a magistrate.
These are some of the measures that will be implemented during the three months the invoked Article 31 of the Constitution will be in force.
This follows President Lungu’s issuance of the Preservation of Public Security Regulations Statutory Instrument No. 55 of 2017.
Acting Minister of Home Affairs Given Lubinda said at a press briefing yesterday that the regulations provide guidance to the police and other defence and security agencies during the period of the threatened state of emergency.
“The regulations are in two parts; those which can be implemented directly, and regulations that will require the President to issue specific orders to be implemented,” Mr Lubinda said.
Under the regulations, the maximum detention period for suspects is seven days if the police satisfy the magistrate that their actions are necessary.
Mr Lubinda, however, said a detention period beyond seven days must be done by the order of the President.
The regulations have also extended the powers of the police to the defence forces and other national security services when acting in aid of the police.
“These regulations are not meant to interfere with the freedom and liberties of law-abiding citizens, but will only be applied to citizens who are found breaking the law.
“The general public is free to go about their normal business as there is no curfew or restrictions in movements,” Mr Lubinda said.
Mr Lubinda said regulations which will require the President to issue specific orders will only be invoked under compelling circumstances.
These orders include prohibiting certain activities at dwelling places and in public places, closing of premises, imposing curfews, blackouts and controlling of electricity.
Others are restriction orders, directing of persons to proceed to and remain in any part of Zambia and the detention of specific persons.
“His Excellency the President has not issued any specific order in this regard. Security agencies, therefore, will not implement any of these regulations,” he said.
Mr Lubinda said the regulations have also provided for procedures for any aggrieved person in addition to the existing procedures in the courts of law.
“I urge members of the public to continue with their normal lives and support the security agencies in the preservation of public security. I also encourage the public to take interest to read the regulations to avoid being misled. These regulations can be obtained from Government Printers at K40 per copy,” he said.
Recently, President Lungu invoked Article 31 of the Constitution to give police more powers to stop a spate of economic sabotage in the country.